How can we develop useful metrics for organizing work?

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I’m interested in how to set goals for a campaign that don’t end up with volunteers and staff focused on the metric and not the mission.  Using a political campaign as an example, I’ve seen many campaigns get focused on door knocks, or phone calls as metrics… to the point where the actual mission (getting a candidate most aligned with your views into office to change the world) feels distant, and the mission falls a bit by the wayside.  Is there a way to set good (I’ll say smart, but without meaning the acronym!) goals without them causing mission drift?

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Asked on February 3, 2021
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Reading your question I'm wondering if the problem isn't so much the metrics as the way the strategy is communicated? When the goal is to elect a candidate it tends to make sense to define a 'win number' (how many people who will vote for them). Then the campaign team uses research/maths/assumptions to define how many conversations are needed to get there, and how many of them might be from doorknocking or phone calls etc (there may be other tactics too).

I think it can be motivating to break the big campaign goal into accessible numbers (our team needs to make this many calls by this date) but it always needs to be linked to the overall goal. Keeping the connection could look like posing the question in the team every day or week 'What did we do today/this week to get X elected, to further our agenda?' This gives a quick check that things are on track as well as reminding everyone why they're putting in the effort. To bring heart and motivation in emphasise shared values and vision, making space for people to share about why it's important to them that this goal is achieved.

Marshall Ganz does a great job of connecting story (heart, values, vision etc) with strategy, team building and the practical tasks that need to be done. See https://commonslibrary.org/leading-change-leadership-organization-and-social-movements</a>/ and https://commonslibrary.org/organizing-people-power-change/

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Answered on February 9, 2021
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This is a challenge faced by a lot of progressive organizing/campaign managers in my experience! When helping put together Moblab's Measuring People Power report last year, I had the chance to talk to Rachel Collinson at Unlock Democracy in the UK, who described applying the Transformational Index to create a set of metrics that worked back from strategic outcomes to avoid the common situation of measurement indicators becoming the 'tail that wags the strategy dog. Link to: https://mobilisationlab.org/stories/linking-measurements-to-goals/

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Answered on February 3, 2021